Tuesday, September 28, 2010

FIBA Asia U18 Men: Taiwan advances to quarterfinals

Report from CNA:

Taipei, Sept. 27 (CNA) Taiwan beat Kazakhstan 79-61 in the second round of the FIBA Asia U18 Men's Championship at Sanaa, Yemen Monday to advance to the tournament's quarterfinal.

The team finished second-round play in the six-team Group E with a 3-2 record, good enough to clinch a spot in the final eight.

It will have a day off on Tuesday before taking on either China, the Philippines or Japan Wednesday in a knockout quarterfinal matchup (depending on the result of the final second round game later Monday between China and Japan) to vie for a berth in the semifinals.

"It doesn't matter who we play in the quarterfinals. What is important is that we qualified," Taiwan head coach Huang Wan-lung was quoted as saying by FIBA Asia's website.

Huang Po-wei had 19 points and Chen Ying-chun had 16 points for Taiwan, which shot 52 percent from the field. But it was Taiwan's defense that was the key, as it limited its opponent to 30 percent shooting from the field and forced 12 turnovers.

Regardless of what happens in the quarterfinal, Taiwan will finish better than it did two years ago in the biennial tournament. Taiwan ranked a disappointing ninth place in 2008 after finishing fourth in 2006.

Report from FIBA Asia

TPE/LIB - Taipei carve out a fairy-tale win over Lebanon
SANA’A, Yemen (21st FIBA Asia U18 Championship): Chinese Taipei continued a triumphant day for East Asian teams over their fancied West Asian counterparts to throw open the calculations of the formbook in Group E of the Second Round with an 87-79 win against WABA U18 Champions Lebanon on Friday.

As a result, Lebanon are tied at 2-2 along with Taipei.

When Karem Mechref and Samer Ozeir scored seven and five – making amends for Ahmad Ibrahim’s initial struggle with rhythm – to put Lebanon ahead 28-13 by the end of the first quarter, the dice seemed to roll the West Asian way.

Lebanon continued to hold sway on the scoreboard, but the signs of the team struggling to maintain the momentum was obvious.

“Some of our players began to play rather selfish. This won’t help,” Lebanon coach Ghassan Sarkis was vituperative in his post game comments.

Taipei trailed Lebanon, kept clicking on Lebanon’s heels.

“The way they kept coming us was remarkable. More importantly, they were disciplined and seemed to play to a plan,” Sarkis lamented.

“Our players took some decisions, which didn’t go well with my instructions.”

Early in the fourth quarter, Cheng Tieh drove in to Taipei the lead for the first time in the game, and the signs for Lebanon were now beginning to get ominous.

Ibrahim ploughed a lone furrow in the fourth quarter for Lebanon accounting for 12 of his game-high 31 points in this period.

“It is a tribute to the character of our boys,” beamed Taipei coach Roman Huang.

“They were dedicated to get their act together after last night’s loss,” Huang said about the loss to Korea.

Hu Lung-mao was the highest scorer for Taipei with 16 points. The more crucial contributions came from Cheng Tieh  and Chen Ying-chun who both accounted for six points each in the fourth quarter.

Taipei take on Kazakhstan and Lebanon line up Iran on Monday.

TPE/KAZ - Taipei take charge early over Kazakhstan, enter QF
SANA’A, Yemen (21st FIBA Asia U18 Championship): Chinese Taipei scored a runaway 79-651 victory over Kazakhstan and booked their place in the Quarterfinals on Monday.

Taipei finished their Group E Second Round games with a 3-2 record and will go through to the last eight irrespective of the results to follow in the day. Those results will only determine the position Taipei finish in the Group and their Quarterfinal opponents.

“It doesn’t matter who we play in the Quarterfinals. What is important is we qualified,” said Chinese Taipei coach Roman Huang.

“In fact I didn’t even realize we had made the grade till you told us,” he gushed at the FIBA Asia media team.

“Even the boys were not aware of the situation. I didn’t want them to get distracted. We were focused on winning this game. That was the dominant thought in our mind,” said Huang.

Taipei scored the first six points, surged ahead 10-3 in the first ten minutes and built it to a substantial 25-13 lead 3 at the end of the first quarter.

Huang Po-wei had a 3/3 in field attempts for seven points in the first quarter to lead the Taipei charge.

Huang Po-wei went on to lead the game in scoring with 19 points. The youngster shot an incredible 85% in field attempts, including a 5/5 on the paint.

Taipei, thus scored back-to-back wins against teams taller, and considered more physical. Taipei had rallied to defeat WABA U18 champions Lebanon on Sunday.

“I think it is a tribute to the character and concentration of the boys. We believe in our strengths,” Huang said.

“And we are unwavering in doing what we need to do without bothering about the game situation. That is the key to these two wins,” he added.

Alimbek Orazov came off the bench and scored 17 points to lead the scoring for Kazakhstan.